Bowes and Bounds Connected

A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green

Build It at no. 78 are, as I write, ‘building it’, and the ‘it’ is a new shopfront at the back of that big metal shutter.

For such a short street, with relatively so few properties, it is amazing how many planning issues there can be between no 49 and 143. All the owners and leaseholders know there are planning laws. Are they flouted because of ignorance, lack of consistency and enforcement by the council, or arrogance?

This is a Conservation Area. According to Haringey Council "Myddleton Road includes probably the best-preserved Victorian shopping centre in the Borough". It has had hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it in hard cash by the Council in recent years and masses more in Officer time. Is it worth the Council spending more time on it just so that planning procedures are followed?

Some shop owners just go ahead and build bits at the back and hope no-one will notice or care. As for changes that one can see:

  • One owner built a bungalow in the back and unusually that got demolished due to an enforcement action.
  • Last year one property didn't bother to apply for planning permission to change the frontage – they had applied before for other things and it had taken a long time, so they decided they were not going to waste time and money.
  • In recent weeks another property has completely changed the shop-front with no permission, no discussions – wizz bang just like that.
  • Another large property had lengthy discussions with the council and did a good new 'heritage' - type frontage, but never applied for planning permission.
  • One large property applied for one thing, and then did another which involved taking out one of the original 19th century front.
  • One property applied, got permission, and then did something different – applied retrospectively for permission for that and has been refused.
  • One knocked out the front and put in a new one, the council told them to apply for permission for new front which they did, and the council took over two years to tell them that it was refused.
  • There is a bakery store behind one 'empty' shop.
  • There is storage for a restaurant in what should be two shops.
  • A restaurant altered its frontage with no permission either.

Does it matter that some people do it properly and lawfully and take the time and effort to do things properly, while others just put two fingers up? Just because the owner thinks it looks OK, better than before, does that make it right to do it without permission?

The jury is out.

Caroline Simpson

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My view is that this is not just about how things look (which is important but is of course subjective) it is also about building standards which are hugely important for safety e.g. living accommodation for rent suddenly appearing in back gardens etc.    Whilst the process of planning permission can be frustrating (I have been through it myself) it is there for a purpose and ultimately for people in the community, our neighbours,  as well as property owners.  If we don't like the rules or the process then we should use democratic means to change those -  simply deciding that they don't apply to us because they are annoying or inconvenient cannot be right?

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